Reply To: Proposed changes of bye laws

Forums General Discussion Proposed changes of bye laws Reply To: Proposed changes of bye laws

David Arditti

I can answer these questions Alan.

It is not usual in this day and age for large membership charities to allow their members to vote on subscription levels. For example, when did the National Trust or the RSGB last ask their members to vote on their subscription levels? In practice only a tiny proportion of the BAA membership votes on the subscription levels: last year, only about 30 members attended the SGM, of whom about 15 were on the Council. It’s not a representative sample. It seems to me, and the rest of the Trustees and Council, that it is part of the proper job of the Trustees, for which they are elected, to look at the Association’s finances including income and expenditure, reserves, investments etc. and to decide what the appropriate levels for subscriptions are. The fact that, under the proposals, there will be a vote on subscription levels by the Council, creates a check on the Trustees’ decision and subjects it to further discussion within the Association. Another point is that, following the recommendations of the Subscriptions Strategy Working Group, we will be introducing a higher tier of subscription called a ‘Benefactor’ subscription for those who wish to contribute more than the standard subscription. There’s no reason why the general membership should take a view on the appropriate level of such a voluntary contribution.

In the 2023 ballot we had 477 digital ballots and 56 paper ballots completed, so only 9.5% of the ballots were paper returns. Both the digital ballot and the paper ballot cost us about £1000 to run (so £2000 total). So the paper votes are costing us £20 each. The Trustees have not taken the decision to cease the paper ballot, but we’d like the authority of the members to do so if we feel it is just not a sensible expenditure. We may also look into the costs and practicality of sending paper ballot papers to only the members for whom we do not hold email addresses, so as not to disenfranchise them.

The proposed change to affiliated societies is to remove them as a category of membership. This recommendation also comes out of the Subscriptions Strategy Working Group. If enacted, affiliated societies would no longer pay a fee to the BAA and they would no longer get one copy of each issue of the Journal and one copy of the Handbook. However they would still be affiliated to the BAA and their members would still be welcome at BAA meetings.

David Arditti, President